Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lemon Berry Tartlets – Puff and Stuff

About 30 years ago, I made puff pastry from scratch in culinary school. It came out really, really well, and I haven’t made it since. Why? Because frozen puff pastry is so readily available, so consistently perfect, and so easy to work with, that the thought of going through all the time and trouble to make my own seems kind of crazy.

Of course, that’s a poor attitude for a cook, and one I’ve been fighting against all these years as I convince people that making your own bread, dressings, cheese, crème fraiche, etc. is a worthwhile pursuit. So, eventually I will show you how to make puff pastry, and hopefully somehow reconcile this obvious hypocrisy, but for now, we defrost.

By the way, I realize that berry season is probably over where you live, but fresh California blackberries were still around a few weeks ago when I filmed this video, and so I’m posting it anyway, seasonality be damned. This is really about the technique for making little puff pastry tart shells anyway, and I’m very confident you’ll figure out how to fill them.

Speaking of which, don’t limit your brainstorming to sweet treats. These lovely little cups make for a stellar base for all kinds of savory bites. I’ve filled these with sautéed mushrooms, chicken salads, and smoked salmon, just to name a few. Regardless of what you fill them with, they will be very well received. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 12 tartlets:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, partially thawed (you should get 12 tartlets if you use a 2-inch cutter like I did)
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup lemon curd, vanilla custard, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, or other appropriate filling
12 fresh blackberries
powdered sugar, as needed
*Bake puff pastry at 400 degrees F. for 13-15 minutes, allow to fully cool before filling.

View the complete recipe


Anonymous said...

oh now that, I have to try! These look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Morgan R said...

After the debacle of your " Go vote!" post, now you're advocating frozen puff pastry... I sometimes wonder why I visit this site at all.

Rebecca C said...

Looks tasty!

Cooks Illustrated came out with a simplified puff pastry recipe a couple of years back, but I haven't had the chance to try it. I would love to see a video demonstrating the technique.


Axel14222 said...

I made puff pastry once too, probably 20 years ago. I remember lots of butter, folding and rolling. It turned out well, but, I too decided that PF makes a pretty good product. I'll look forward to your version, Chef.

Baby Joe Kim said...

Hi chef john.

For the savory bites, im thinking something creamy/thick like mushrooms onions creamcheese chives, cheese.

Would you recommend putting the filling on the pastry as it bakes? Afterwards then blast it? Or bake the pastry for a little bit then put the filling in?
What would work best. I really want that Browning, melting goodness to happen.

Chef John said...

Usually they are baked like this, then filled with room temp cheese or filling, and then finished in the oven. Be careful not to burn!

Chef John said...

Safest is to just fill finished cups with the hot mixture and serve like that!

Anonymous said...

Man those look good. I bet you could take those canned pie fillings like apple and cherry and blueberry and such and put that in them. I bet that would taste good. I'm gonna head over to PF's web site and see what else you can do with that stuff. I never used it before...and I certainly am not about to make it from scratch.

Anonymous said...

When we are cutting the inner circle do we want to penetrate all the way through or just score it?

Chef John said...

I go all the way through. It's hard not to anyway.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

How awesome would these bouchets be with some of your beef bourguingon in a small dice, or an emulsified salad such as curried chicken salad or German potato?

Chef John said...


Unknown said...

Just got done making this recipe and it was delicious! The store was out of blackberries so we used raspberries. Very tart, but super delicious. I too would love to see a video on home made puff pastry to make this a completely from scratch recipe!

elam said...

I'm so glad I tried this recipes got so many compliments on it..while everybody was asking me about the recipes secretly i was thinking...the amazing Chef John. haha xD